Thursday, September 26, 2013


Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - "Gotcha Day"!

So it was probably around 8:00 or 8:30am when the van finally pulled up into the famous black gates of Hannah's Hope, and we were all cheering and squealing!  It seemed so surreal to be back, and yet we felt so much peace.  This was it!  God's perfect timing to be re-united with our baby girl!!!  It felt like we were living out a dream!!!  It had been exactly 6 weeks to the day since we had said good-by to her on Wednesday, July 24th!  We couldn't wait to see her and hold her again!

The amazing older kids at HH all came out to greet us and welcome us back to Addis!  We were so excited to see them again, and took several minutes to hug them and take pictures of them.  Some of the older ones wanted to help carry our suitcases into the guest house.  This trip we were staying in a room upstairs right next to Chris and Emma.  We finally got everything upstairs, and we took out a few things we wanted to give to the kids and the special mothers.

They had told us the babies were all taking naps, so we took a little time to freshen up and get settled.  Then, we went outside to the courtyard, and looked up to see one of the special mothers holding Letehiwot up on the balcony!  It was our first glimpse of her!!!  I wish I had taken a picture, but I didn't have my camera!  We went back to our room to get our video and camera to go to the baby house to see our DAUGHTER!!!

I am pretty sure that we RAN up those flights of stairs to her pink butterfly room, and I pretty much just...

 swooped her up in my arms!!!!  Gotcha, sweet girl!!!

Ahhhhhh!!!!  That is one happy, content mama!!!  My heart felt so full and settled to have her back in my arms again!  I could just relax and breathe!  And she seemed to do so much better with us this trip!  Such an answered prayer!  I guess the initial shock of us had worn off after the first trip, and she went to us pretty easily! :)

 Then Daddy swooped her up!!!  Gotcha, baby girl!!!

She decided it was pretty fun to hang out with Daddy and "eat" some of the pictures that we had brought back to the special mothers! :)  We have a 13 month old on our hands, for sure!!! ;)

 It wasn't long before it was bottle time, so Daddy got to give her a bottle for the very first time!!!  And she took it from him great!  We were so excited!!!

Then she fell right to sleep for a nap in Daddy's arms!!!  So PRECIOUS!!!  And that is her owl lovey that we had slept with and brought to her on our first trip!

Well, we had decided to do a slow transition with her because we didn't want to scare her.  So, we did not immediately take her back with us to the guest house.  Once she fell asleep, we left her with the special mothers to go back to the guest house to rest for a little bit before we had our "2nd trip orientation" with the HH staff.  We were so exhausted, so we went and laid down in our bed for about an hour, before they came up to get us to meet with the staff.

We got to meet M, the new director of Hannah's Hope, and we really liked him a lot.  It was his first week in his new role, as Almaz the former director had just retired.  He and Johannes went over our itinerary and some things that we needed to know for our Embassy appointment the next day.

After our meeting, we decided to walk back over to the baby house to see if baby girl was awake!

 And she was!!!  We had so much fun playing with her in the downstairs play room, and she was really happy and just seemed to be in a great mood!  She loves when we lift her high in the air!

 Trying to take some steps with Mama!!!

 Such a HAPPY girl with a big, adorable SMILE!!! :)

Sweet angel baby! I love all of her cute expressions!  And those lips...oh my!  Sweetness!!!

We stayed in the play room for awhile just hanging out with Caroline Faith Letehiwot and all the other babies, special mothers and Wass.  It was fun to just get to be with all of them again.  Hannah's Hope has such a precious, loving environment, and it was just really amazing to be there again and take it all in!

Well, we still did not feel quite ready to take her away from the special mothers, so we went back to the guest house to make some lunch and try to email our family back home to let them know we had made it safely.  I also needed some time to get prepared to have her with us...unpack bottles, baby food, diapers, baby clothes, etc.  It was good to have a few hours to get settled and prepared to have her with us.  And to be honest, we were both a little nervous about how this transition was going to go!

It was our "Gotcha Day", but we still hadn't "gotten her" yet!  Finally, late that afternoon around 4:00 or so, we decided to get the courage to just go do this and GET HER!!!

We knew that this was going to be really hard on her, and we were definitely expecting some sadness and grieving.  But it was way harder than I thought.  When we went back to the baby house to get her, she had already been bathed and had her clothes changed.  She was happy and playing again downstairs, and we went to take her to start the process of a major transition from everything she had known for the past 9 1/2  months. I was pretty emotional...and scared.  I was definitely feeling a mixture of excitement and a little nervousness. I had no idea what the night would hold for us.  

We took her in our arms and walked back over the guest house.  After almost 10 months of living there, she would never spend another night in the Hannah's Hope baby house again.  Life was changing forever for her,  and for us.  Change is good, but change can be hard too.  We prayed for much strength, wisdom and patience for the days ahead.

Our precious daughter cried for probably at least an hour straight before calming down, but remaining very sad.  This was hard on her, and our hearts broke for her.

I was so happy to have her in my arms and heart broken for her grief all at the same time...such a mix of emotions!

 She finally settled in on Daddy's chest and went to sleep for awhile.  She was grieving, but we were thankful that she was allowing us to comfort her.  We tried to feed her a little bit of baby food for dinner.  She didn't eat much, maybe just a few bites, and then it was time for bed.  We put her pajamas on, (I saved her "Gotcha Day" outfit in a ziplock bag to try to preserve the smell) gave her a bottle, and we were all three asleep by 8:00 that night.  What a day!!!  We were exhausted, but ready for the night and for our Embassy appointment the next day!

"Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning."
Psalm 30:5


dominique said...

My goodness!! She looks so much like your husband. She is a tan Jody!!! So happy for you and your family.

Hannah & Ryan said...

She is precious! Congrats to your family - hope the settling in is going smoothly! We just came home with our daughter (who is 2 1/2 years) after a wait nearly identical to yours. :) Blessings to your family!

Abby Blackburn said...

Such a sweet post! Thanks for sharing!

Meredith said...

Somehow I missed this post. So sweet and such precious moments to savor and share.